The American Legion, a U.S. veterans association, wrote to President Donald Trump on Monday, asking him to re-lower the flags to half-staff at the White House to honor the death of Arizona Sen. John McCain.
“The American Legion urges the White House to follow long-established protocol following the death of prominent government officials,” the organization wrote to Trump.
The president ordered the White House flags to be flown at half-staff in a tribute to McCain on Saturday night, but they were raised by Monday morning, drawing criticism from opposition who noted the flag was lowered for more extended periods of time for other notable American deaths like that of former first lady Barbara Bush and evangelical leader Billy Graham. (RELATED: Furor Erupts After White House Flag Returns To Full Mast After McCain’s Death)
Although technically the flag only needs to be lowered for a member of Congress on the day of death and the day after, according to official U.S. code, historically presidents, including Trump, have ordered the flag remain lowered for prominent American citizens until the deceased is buried. Trump’s deviation from tradition prompted many to decry that he was spurning the Arizona Republican’s legacy.
“He’s not a war hero,” Trump said in 2015 at the Family Leadership Summit in Iowa. “He was a war hero because he was captured. I like people who weren’t captured.”
The American Legion cited McCain’s decades of service to the U.S., as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, a Navy captain, and a senator of Arizona for almost 35 years as reasons to honor his death with a lowered flag for the duration of his funeral proceedings.
“On behalf of the American Legion’s two million wartime veterans, I strongly urge you to make an appropriate presidential proclamation noting Senator McCain’s death and legacy of service to our nation, and that our nation’s flag be half-staffed through his internment,” the organization wrote.
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